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Four players added to Tennis Hall of Fame ballot

By Alex Butler
Four players added to Tennis Hall of Fame ballot
Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman posted a 414-362 singles record and a 712-307 doubles record during his career. He also won 54 doubles titles and six singles titles. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Former world No. 1 men's doubles tennis star Jonas Bjorkman was one of four players added Wednesday to the ballot for 2020 induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

The Swede won nine Grand Slam doubles titles and earned the top ranking in July 2001. Bjorkman, 47, also advanced to the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1997 and the U.S. Open in 1997 as a singles player. He reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in 1998 and 2002. He never appeared in a Grand Slam singles final.

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Bjorkman ranked as high as No. 4 on the men's singles circuit.

Back-to-back French Open champion Sergi Bruguera, 2001 Wimbledon Champion Goran Ivanisevic and 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez also were added to the ballot. Each player on the ballot is in the second year of a three-year maximum candidacy for induction.

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"Throughout their careers, Conchita Martínez, Sergi Bruguera, Jonas Björkman and Goran Ivanisevic each consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence," International Tennis Hall of Fame president Stan Smith said. "As a result, they achieved success at tennis' highest levels as Grand Slam champions, top-ranked ATP and WTA competitors, Olympic medalists, and Davis and Fed Cup champions.

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"They've represented their nations and the sport very well, and it is a pleasure to announce their nominations to receive tennis' ultimate honor, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame."

Bruguera reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 and won 14 titles. He won a silver medal at the 1997 Olympics while competing for Spain.

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Ivanisevic was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist, a two-time semifinalist and three-time finalist before he claimed the title in 2001. He was ranked No. 125 in the world when he won at the All-England Club.

Ivanisevic upset three players who were either former or future world No. 1s before knocking off Patrick Rafter in five sets in the 2001 Wimbledon final. The Croatian also won a singles bronze medal and a doubles bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics.

Martinez won 33 singles titles and 13 doubles titles during her decorated WTA Tour tenure. The Spaniard defeated Martina Navratilova in the 1994 Wimbledon final. She was also a finalist at the Australian Open and French Open. Martinez reached No. 2 in the world and had a 190-week stay in the top five. She won three Olympic medals in doubles play and won five championships at the Fed Cup.

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The ballot will go before the ITHF Player Voting Group, composed of tennis media, historians and Hall of Famers. Tennis fans can also voice their opinions in a fan vote starting Monday at vote.tennisfame.com. Voting runs through Sept. 29. The top three players in the fan vote will have bonus percentage points added to their result from the ITHF Player Voting Group.

Candidates must receive an affirmative vote of at least 75 percent from the group or a combined total of at least 75 percent from the group and fans to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Fans from 148 countries participated in last year's voting.

The results from the fan voting will be announced in late September, while the overall results and complete induction class will be announced in January.

Germany's Michael Stich and Czech women's star Helena Sukova were inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. Former Russian men's star Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Li Na were inducted this year. Na was the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title when she won the 2011 French Open.

The 2020 induction ceremony is July 18.

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